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Smash Drums Hits Oculus Quest in June

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When the Oculus Quest App Lab launched back in February the new distribution method only had a very small selection of titles available. One of those was a demo for Smash Drums, a rock-infusing rhythm action videogame by indie team PotamWorks. Today, the developer has confirmed that the full experience will arrive via App Lab next month.

Smash Drums

While the Smash Drums demo offers one song for players to test their drumming skills on the official launch in June will see 21 songs from up-and-coming indie rock bands made available. There are seven environments for players to drum away in, including a prison, a crypt, and an office but one of Smash Drums’ more unique features is that the environments are destructible. So you can literally smash through the songs.

Like several other rhythm action titles currently available Smash Drums employs 360-degree gameplay, so rather than standing on one stationary spot players will find the drums twisting left and right encouraging further movement. At the same time, there’s a live global rankings system allowing players to see their leaderboard position in real-time.

Once the launch has taken place PotamWorks will continue to expand Smash Drums with further content, both paid and free. The studio plans on adding free songs and environments on a regular basis with paid DLC introducing new bands to support development.

Smash Drums

“As a rock fan since I was a teenager in the 90s, it’s been a joy to bring my childhood fun into my real-life job. Thanks to the incredible help of the discord community, and incredible feedback the players provided, I am looking forward to releasing the game and supporting it long beyond once it reaches App Lab,” said Mr Potam, founder at PotamWorks SAS in a statement. “There is so much more to come, and I want you to be sure of one thing: Rock n Roll is not dead: it has never been more ALIVE!”

Download the Smash Drums demo ahead of its launch on 17th June 2021, retailing for $19.99 USD. PotamWorks also plans to release a PC VR version later this year. As further updates are released VRFocus will let you know.

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Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2021/05/smash-drums-hits-oculus-quest-in-june/

AR/VR

Varjo Reality Cloud Could be the Next Step for Mixed Reality Collaboration

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Finnish hardware company Varjo is known for its high-end, enterprise-only virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR) headsets, providing the best image quality to clients. Today, Varjo has revealed it will be expanding its reach beyond mere hardware solutions by announcing Varjo Reality Cloud, a platform designed for universal collaboration and real-time reality sharing.

Varjo Reality Cloud

Currently built around the Varjo XR-3 mixed reality (MR) headset which launched back in December 2020, Varjo Reality Cloud is the company’s own take on a metaverse, where users can come together share ideas and collaborate. Instead of a virtual world, Varjo intends to blend the real with the digital, crucially, in real-time so as if you’re almost teleporting the person you wish to speak to into your room.

Developing and packing the XR-3 with low-latency video pass-through, integrated eye tracking and LiDAR have been important steps toward Varjo Reality Cloud, enabling the headset to accurately scan and digitise a room as well as sharing 3D video feed which only generates single megabytes per second. So the groundwork has been laid over the past five years for Varjo to create an MR metaverse which could be one of the most realistic.

“We believe that Varjo’s vision for the metaverse will elevate humanity during the next decade more than any other technology in the world,” said Timo Toikkanen, CEO of Varjo. “What we’re building with our vision for the Varjo Reality Cloud will release our physical reality from the laws of physics. The programmable world that once existed only behind our screens can now merge with our surrounding reality – forever changing the choreography of everyday life.”

Varjo Reality Cloud

To help in the development of Varjo Reality Cloud the company has announced the acquisition of Norwegian software company Dimension10, which specialises in industrial 3D collaboration for architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) teams.

While this all sounds promising Varjo hasn’t released any specific feature details for the new platform, such as possible user numbers in one location or the ability to import assets to work on. This can be seen seen in apps like Spatial which support VR headsets and MR ones like Microsoft HoloLens, allowing users to interact as holograms.

Varjo’s current product lineup features the Varjo VR-3 priced at $3,990 USD (inc. a 1-year Varjo subscription) and the Varjo XR-3 which retails for $6990 (inc the subscription).

While Varjo Reality Cloud Alpha Access will be offered to existing XR-3 customers later this year, the team envisions bringing the platform to multiple headsets and to a wider array of users in the future. It’s still early days for Varjo Reality Cloud so as further details are released, VRFocus will let you know.

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Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2021/06/varjo-reality-cloud-could-be-the-next-step-for-mixed-reality-collaboration/

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AR/VR

Hands-on: Varjo Reality Cloud is a Platform for Capturing & Sharing Physical Spaces in Real-time

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Varjo today announced its new Varjo Reality Cloud platform, a device-agnostic VR meeting platform which can scan and share physical spaces in real-time using the depth sensors on its latest XR-3 headsets. The company doesn’t have a specific release date for the tech just yet, but is presenting a glimpse of what it plans to deliver in the future. Road to VR got an early look at the new tech.

Varjo Reality Cloud

Varjo is building a virtual meeting platform not unlike we’ve seen before, but with one key difference: the company plans to leverage the wide field-of-view depth sensors on its Varjo XR-3 headset to allow users to easily capture their surroundings and use it as the basis for virtual meetings. What’s more, beyond just a static capture, the Varjo Reality Cloud platform will continuously update the portion of the environment that’s in the headset’s view while the meeting is happening. That means if there’s something real and relevant in the host’s environment—like a book, product, or even another person—the virtual viewers will be able to see that thing moving and updating in real-time (as long as the host is actively looking at it).

The idea melds well with XR-3’s existing high-quality passthrough capabilities. During normal use of the headset it’s easy to toggle on the headset’s pass-through view to see the environment around you, which means if you were sharing your local environment through the Varjo Reality Cloud, it could seem like others in the meeting were standing right in the same room as you.

Varjo thus likens its Reality Cloud platform to ‘teleportation’, though I wouldn’t say it goes that far just yet.

Hands-on With the Prototype

I got to see an early prototype of the Varjo Reality Cloud in action during a meeting with the company in Silicon Valley. Using the Varjo XR-3 headset, I was shown a pre-recorded example of a Varjo Reality Cloud meeting space with a person standing in the center of the room talking, gesturing, and showing me some objects from around the room. While most of the room around me was static, the person was essentially being ‘filmed’ by an XR-3 headset, which meant their movements (and anything in a certain area around them) were being updated in real-time.

To be clear, the environment I was seeing wasn’t just flat or even 180 footage, it was an actual volumetric space, and so was the person that was standing inside the room. And while I could definitely make out the specific person I was looking at and the room around me, in this prototype phase the fidelity leaves a lot to be desired. The room scan and the person in front of me were assembled from a splotchy point-cloud of colored dots—far from the incredible quality of several of Varjo’s photogrammetry demos that I’ve seen in the past.

While it’s almost certain that the Varjo Reality Cloud won’t look as good as careful pre-captured photogrammetry any time soon, the company says that what I was looking at is merely a proof of concept, and that improvements in fidelity are expected as they move forward with development.

One important part of that ongoing development will be moving the whole thing into the cloud. While the demo I saw was a pre-recorded example of the Varjo Reality Cloud, ultimately the company plans to stream the captured environments from the cloud to any participants in the room, leaving the bulk of the computing to be done in the cloud. To do so at the highest possible quality on its ultra-high resolution headsets, the company says it has developed a foveated compression algorithm to cut the stream down to just “single megabytes per second.” My understanding is that that algorithm specifically takes advantage of the eye-tracking that’s built into Varjo headsets.

Device Agnostic

But Varjo headsets aren’t the only devices that will be able to join the Varjo Reality Cloud. While it’ll take an XR-3—with its equipped depth-sensors—to capture and stream the environments, the company says that it’s taking a device-agnostic approach to participants. The company expects that participants joining Varjo Reality Cloud sessions could be on computers, smartphones, tablets, and other VR headsets too.

Continued on Page 2: Cool, but Revolutionary? »

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Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/varjo-reality-cloud-announcement-hands-on/

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AR/VR

‘Walkabout Mini Golf’ Finally Set to Launch on Steam July 15th with Cross-play, New Course Included

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After launching on Quest back in September of 2020 and “coming soon” to Steam ever since, the well rated VR mini golf game Walkabout Mini Golf finally has a July 15th release date on Steam, supporting all PC VR headsets and cross-play with the Quest and Oculus PC versions. The game was recently updated with its seventh course which will be included in all versions of the game.

Walkabout Mini Golf is… pretty much what you imagine: mini golf in VR. What makes it one of the best rated games on Quest is very likely its multiplayer capability which allows up to five players to play the game together, offering a pretty authentic feeling of hanging out together, chatting, and bragging about who’s in the lead.

While the game has been available on Quest and Oculus PC since September 2020, Steam users have been staring at the words “coming soon,” on the Walkabout Mini Golf Steam store page ever since then.

Today the studio finally announced a July 15th release date for Walkabout Mini Golf on Steam, and affirmed cross-play with all other versions of the game.

Joining friends on other platforms is easy thanks to a room system which allows you to make a private room with a given name. As long as other players (on any platform) have the name, they can join to get their putt on at any time—even if the round has already started.

Earlier this month Walkabout Mini Golf was also updated with a new course—the Western-themed ‘Bogey’s Bonanza’—bringing the count to seven 18-hole venues, including an unlockable ‘hard mode’ for each course which modifies holes with more difficult terrain. The game also offers a fun little scavenger hunt on each course by hiding a unique golf ball near each hole; each ball you find gets added to your custom ball collection. ‘Hard mode’ courses get their own version of this where players find clues which eventually unlock custom putters.

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Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/vr-walkabout-mini-golf-steam-release-date-cross-play/

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Interactive 360° LED Tower Reacts To Movement In Real-Time

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Corporate videos are so 2020. Giantstep is looking to take brand awareness to the next level with its interactive environments.

South Korea-based creative technology company Giantstep is no stranger to developing jaw-dropping visual productions. The company has worked with a number of clients on a wide variety of incredible brand experiences, from a motion-capture-powered music video for the K-Pop group AESPA to a high-tech pop-up store for Louis Vuitton complete with an interactive runway.

This week, the company revealed its latest mind-blowing installation, a massive 30-foot tall LED tower designed to showcase the “iron process” through an eight-minute interactive journey brought to life using a combination of real time technology, visual effects, projection mapping, 7.1-channel stereoscopic audio, and a variety of other visually-captivating elements.

Developed in collaboration with design company D’strict, Iron Civilization was designed specifically for Korea-based steel-manufacturing company POSCO and is meant to serve as a visual representation of the “iron process,” taking visitors on an eight-minute interactive journey that consists of four key themes: Birth of Iron Ore, Iron Discovery, Iron Prosperity, and Iron with Mankind.

Image Credit: Giantstep

The massive 30×60-foot tower, meant to symbolize iron itself, changes dramatically over the course of the experience depending on the theme. For example, Iron Discovery represents the heating face in which iron is thrown into a furnace and repurposed into steel.

In addition to the changing themes, visitors can interact with the environment itself in real-time. In the video provided, we can see the ground literally react to the presence of attendees as they walk throughout the constantly-changing space.

Image Credit: Giantstep

According to Giantstep, the idea behind Iron Civilization was to develop a consumer-facing brand experience that went beyond a simple corporate video; a captivating representation of the company designed not only to entertain, but to educate as well.

“We love when clients lean into our expertise in technology and storytelling to create brand experiences that go beyond the traditional corporate video,” said Executive Creative Director Jichul Lee in an official release. “POSCO took consumer engagement to a whole new level by creating a permanent cultural space that not only tells their brand story but will also entertain and educate people for years to come.”

Image Credit: Giantstep

Iron Civilization is located at Park1538, a new cultural space located near the POSCO History Museum designed to immortalize the companies past, present, and future.

As companies continue to rethink the way they interact with consumers, we’ll no doubt begin to see more of these genre-defying projects in replacement of conventional corporate videos and other standard brand experiences.

Feature Image Credit: Giantstep

The post Interactive 360° LED Tower Reacts To Movement In Real-Time appeared first on VRScout.

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Source: https://vrarnews.com/details/interactive-360degree-led-tower-reacts-to-movement-in-real-time-60d3bc70329829ca1f75695b?s=rss

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